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Full text of "[untitled] The American Historical Review, (1899-12-01), pages 376-382"

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376 Reviews of Books 

couriers as well as upon private citizens whose politics they did not ap- 
prove. They supplemented robberies and spoliations with abductions, 
tortures and murders. These outlaws, who set at naught all the ordinary 
laws of warfare, were hunted down like wild beasts, and, if caught, dis- 
patched without mercy. It is said that the prowess and heroism ex- 
hibited in penetrating into their hiding-places in Western Missouri 
rivalled the adventures of Diomede and Ulysses, " in entering the Tro- 
jan camp by night and slaughtering Rhesus and his companions. ' ' Yet 
our author is not insensible to the presence of pathetic elements in this 
pitiless business. Stumbling upon the dead body of a bandit near camp 
one day he pauses in his Memoirs to moralize on the gruesome incident. 
" I have no inclination to make a funeral oration over him, yet I will 
venture to remark that there is a sad thought connected with his lonely 
and obscure grave, for he has fallen in a cause that can never receive the 
sympathy of men fighting for justice and equal rights. ' ' 

Mr. Britton has written a relatively dispassionate and judicial book. 
This is all the more surprising when we remember that he was an avowed 
abolitionist, a Kansas cavalryman, and that his parents, who remained in 
Missouri, suffered heavily at the hands of the Confederates. " I hope 
that I have not given in a single case," he says in his Memoirs, "an ex- 
travagant and sentimental account. ... I am perfectly aware that a 
work filled with highly-colored statements is more greedily read . . . 
than one containing plain solid facts ; yet I do not regret the course I 
have followed." While Mr. Britton may not have any signal felicities 
of style ; while he may sometimes fail in matters of perspective and in 
the estimate of relative historical values, yet three cardinal excellences 
appear everywhere in his narrative — clearness, directness and sincerity. 

Leverett W. Spring. 

The Santiago Campaign, 1898. By Major-General Joseph Wheeler, 
Commmanding Fourth Corps, U. S. A., late Commander of 
Cavalry Division in Santiago Campaign. (Philadelphia: Drexel 
Biddle. 1899. Pp. xvii, 369.) 

The War with Spain. By Henry Cabot Lodge. (New York : 
Harper and Brothers. 1899. Pp. 276.) 

Reminiscences of the Santiago Campaign. By John Bigelow, Jr., 
Captain 10th U. S. Cavalry. (New York : Harper and Broth- 
ers. 1899. Pp. vii, 188.) 

The Rough Riders. By Theodore Roosevelt, Colonel of the 
First U. S. Volunteer Cavalry. (New York : Charles Scrib- 
ner's Sons. 1899. Pp. xi, 298.) 

A genial figure on the American stage is Major-General Joseph 
Wheeler. Ever youthful, ever vigorous, his simple manliness stands 
forth from these pages as it did from his activity at Santiago. After 
graduating at West Point in 1859 and serving two years, he joined the 



Books on the War with Spain 377 

Confederate forces and his record as a bold fighter and tireless marcher 
was unsurpassed. Frankly accepting the decision of arms, he has since 
shown that the honest rebel soldier may belong to the highest type of 
American. Wheeler's volume, unlike those of Lodge and Roosevelt, is 
not that of an expert book-maker. Including as it does some pages of 
a diary, a number of personal letters, and reports and orders galore, it 
rather suggests the soldier's note-book. The general himself appears in 
but a third of it. While the padding is interesting as a record, we could 
have wished for a fuller representation of the ingenuous soldier. That 
part which is General Wheeler's was written at Montauk Point in August, 
1898, and is full of the freshness of the recent operations. 

General Wheeler has no special point to make, his pages are purely 
narrative. All personal experiences are of a value graded by the witness. 
General Wheeler was a noteworthy part of the Santiago Campaign, and 
though he tells its story with the modesty bred of the usage of war, 
yet, appreciating the breadth of his command at the front, his statements 
lack not force. That he was sick to the extent of incapacity, he indig- 
nantly denies : "I was not off duty for a single moment during the cam- 
paign. " Of General Shafter he says that ' ' the great success of the expe- 
dition, (resulting in the capture of 24,000 prisoners by an army of about 
two-thirds of that strength) is a full answer to the criticisms that were 
made by some of the papers. ' ' He dwells upon his own insistence on 
not retiring from the extreme point gained, on July 1, by our gallant 
troops, only so much as truth seems to him to demand ; and of his fellow 
generals he speaks as their brilliant conduct warrants. He gives a help- 
ful sketch of the Spanish officers, and in the account of the surrender 
Toral is complimented for his struggle to avoid humiliation in word or act. 

Gauging at its highest the devotion of the volunteers in going to and 
their gallantry and value on the field, yet General Wheeler casts his vote 
for the regular ; and in characterizing him as more reliable, he is merely 
stating a world-old fact. Our Civil War volunteers really became regu- 
lars when enlisted for three years, for their education in serious campaigns 
and battles speedily gave them route and fire discipline ; but the short- 
term volunteer always has had and always must have his limitations. 

General Wheeler speaks with authority about Montauk Point, which 
was of necessity ill organized. To bring 20,000 men from a fever- 
stricken country and disperse them broadcast among the population could 
not be thought of; the returning men had to be quarantined somewhere ; 
and while to the yellow journals with big editions to market, or to the 
peaceful citizen who knows not war, Montauk Point was a place of terror, 
statistics show that the suffering was hardly as great and that the mor- 
tality was much less, than ordinarily occurs under parallel conditions. 

The general's farewell letters to his regiments make a cheerful page ; 
and the lists of officers killed and wounded, with the tables of casualties 
by regiment, appeal to the individual. 

It is a pity, however, to introduce a statement like the note on page 
227. Santiago was not a great battle, and its comparison to Waterlco 



378 Reviews of Books 

even by innuendo, tells against the good work really done there. More- 
over the loss of Wellington's army approached a third of his effective, and 
was not, as the note would lead the unwary to infer, only ten per cent. 

The typography, paper and large-scale maps are excellent. 

In his preface, Senator Lodge strikes the keynote of the handsome 
volume before us, which, in illustration and general get-up, is perhaps 
the most attractive we have so far reviewed. ' ' In the broadest and 
truest sense of the word," says the distinguished author, " the history of 
this war cannot be written for many years;" but to "tell 'How it 
strikes a contemporary ' it is not too soon." Penned during a heated 
session of Congress and actual hostilities, by a participant in the polit- 
ical turmoil, the volume savors rather of the forensic than the judicial. 
All men appreciate the difference between Latin and Teuton, and we re- 
gret the difficulty the Spaniard has had in recognizing the onward move- 
ment of the nations and the duties of the hour. But were the author of 
Hamilton and Webster to rewrite The War with Spain twenty years hence, 
he would less baldly accuse our late enemies of mendacity, duplicity and 
" the silly passion Spaniards call pride," or at least with a penstroke or 
two would replace such an ugly adjective as " lying " by an euphemism 
more worthy of Clio. This, however, in a war-book originally written 
in magazine articles is pardonable. Moreover the author thrusts home 
in more than one direction, as where he refers to the peace advocates as 
"some men who had once been eminent in politics, and some who felt 
they ought to be ; " and is wont to show the vigor of his character in 
his unequivocal attitude toward all men. 

Advancing into the volume, we find much that satisfies. The polit- 
ical causes, remote and proximate, leading up to the Spanish War are 
clearly indicated, as well as the seething of the opinions of war men and 
anti-war men, imperialists and an ti -imperialists, in and out of Congress. 
Described by one who was a part of it all, the details lack nothing in 
pointedness, nor do they ever weary. Most war literature comes from 
the camp ; here we have a book by one who has never borne arms, who 
viewed the campaign from the floor of the Senate, but who is in the 
prime of manhood, and might have made a typical soldier had he not, 
before the opportunity offered, become a successful statesman. This 
yields us much that is fresh, much that might otherwise be forgotten, 
and much that differs from the soldier's or sailor's narrative. 

The author points out how a generation's parsimony in Congress 
came near to crippling even our American ingenuity ; how the machinery 
of war, rusty by its neglect, bred faulty, slow organization ; how, for 
example, this machinery despatched Sampson's fleet to sea with seven- 
knot monitors ; how it sent our troops into action without powder to 
match even poverty-stricken Spain, together with other untoward results ; 
and, as a consequence, how successively occurring facts, and not a homo- 
geneous theory of operations, finally prescribed our plan of campaign. 
His castigation of the body of which he is an active member for its sins 
of omission in these particulars is noteworthy. 



Books on the War with Spain 379 

Senator Lodge dwells on the fact that the Americans were on the 
larger scale invariably the attacking party ; that the initiative of our offi- 
cers and men was representative of that spirit which subdued the wilder- 
ness and the savage ; that the unquestioned bravery of the Spaniards was 
rather a negative quality; and he is a manifest believer in "the de- 
cadence of the Latin race" and in the "superiority of the Anglo- 
Saxons." The description of the fights at Las Guasimas, and of those at 
El Caney and Santiago is one of the best we have, and original as 
being from the pen of a looker-on. He praises the regular, whose fights 
the latter were, and is evidently a friend of the army, who can in the 
future be relied on to do the progressive thing. There is a pregnant 
■comparison of Manila and Aboukir, an admiring chapter or two on the 
Porto Rico campaigns. A general air of cheerful and self-confident 
Americanism pervades the book. 

The Dewey chapters, on his diplomatic as well as military work, 
though a threadbare topic, are excellently done. They cover the ground, 
and a vein of humor running through them, while not exactly historical, 
brightens the successive pages. The work is comprehensive, and in it 
the entirety of our late war, political and military, is for popular reading 
perhaps given at its best. 

Abundant appendices contain the proclamations, protocol and treaty 
of peace, and sundry similar documents. 

To a veteran, Captain Bigelow's small volume is the most entertain- 
ing of all the books published since the close of the war. Pretending to 
write nothing more than personal reminiscences, the author has such a 
genuine way of taking the reader into his confidence, that what he tells 
of his immediate surroundings in the 10th Cavalry, from the standpoint 
of a West Pointer of twenty -five years' service, with an experience of 
foreign armies and much study of the theory of war, is full of meat. No 
work reminds the company officer who has campaigned under difficulties 
so keenly of his toils and hardships, of his enjoyment of the manly life, 
of his suffering from wounds, of the manner in which everything goes as 
it should not go, so well as Captain Bigelow's. From the first even a 
stranger knows him ; a friend knows him better. His familiarity with 
camp routine shows the trained soldier ; he tells of requisitions over- 
looked, of equipments not to be got, of issues at odds and evens, of 
orders and regulations impossible of execution, of scanty or no rations, 
of lack of care for the wounded, in a way which proves us to be an un- 
military people ; and he gives instances of manly heroism and gentleness, 
and of our intelligent fashion of handling difficulties, which show that 
we are essentially a warlike race. 

Had this not been Bigelow's first campaign, he would have remem- 
bered that war is but a game of errors, big and little, and that organiza- 
tion only lessens and cannot eradicate the petty blundering which always 
galls the soldier. Not that he complains ; essentially philosophical, he 
cheerfully dispenses with food when hungry and with medical attendance 
when shot down. He works with what tools he has, and works well, and 



380 Reviews of Books 

in his concluding chapter he gives means for bettering our military status 
in a way which goes to the point without theorizing. 

The captain pays a fine tribute to his colored troopers, who fall little 
short of being typical soldiers ; he tells us of the seeming lack of plan at 
Santiago; of the absence of written orders; of his dodging his first 
bullets ; of his charging up the hill without orders, but relying on the 
initiative an officer must often assume; of the "broad swarm" which 
made up the line of battle ; of the patient courage of the wounded men 
about him — which no one knows who has not seen them stricken down ; 
and of innumerable details which make up the picture a line officer sees 
on the march and in battle. Altogether the 188 pages are full of interest. 
Except one impatient reference to the commander of the Rough Riders, 
not a word could well be changed. 

" On behalf of the Rough Riders I dedicate this book to the officers 
and men of the five regular regiments which together with mine made 
up the cavalry division at Santiago," is Col. Roosevelt's graceful tribute 
to his fellow-soldiers. Second in command of perhaps the oddest organ- 
ization and one of the most intelligent regiments which ever went into 
action — a body where the cowboy fresh from the round-up and the under- 
graduate fresh from his classics or his football rode side by side ; where 
he who would empty his revolver over a misdeal at poker bunked and 
messed, or starved and shivered, with him whose New England estimate 
of human life was overwrought ; where the Pawnee Indian rubbed elbows 
with the Harvard or Yale ninety per cent, man ; where contrasts ran riot, 
and yet where one purpose kept every man true to his discipline and his 
work — second in command of this regiment, Colonel Roosevelt received 
his first impressions of service, and his baptism of fire. He might have 
had the colonelcy, but he wisely chose to serve under a man who is every 
inch a soldier, who has won the Medal of Honor, who can stand fatigue 
like an Apache, and who possessed the experience Roosevelt lacked. 
Leonard Wood was soon promoted and left the "Rough Riders" to 
Roosevelt ; and with it he left a heritage of soldierly instincts, and an 
amusing disregard of red tape. 

It is lucky, on the whole, that the best men at the front have given 
us personal experiences, and not striven to write history. Such a book 
as this is far more helpful. Its chief charm lies in the series of minia- 
tures or silhouettes of the men of whom we heard so much in June, 1898. 
As Roosevelt frankly admits, the Rough Riders did, could do, no more 
than the regulars at their side, in some ways not as much ; yet those were 
talked of while these were passed over in silence. This is the usual work- 
ing of the public mind. A non-commissioned officer of volunteers gal- 
lantly falls in the first fight, and his social standing keeps his name in 
the public press, while the regular sergeant who drops in his tracks ten 
rods away is only noted on the muster-rolls. Similarly a plucky commo- 
dore dares a presumably mined channel and destroys the enemy's fleet — 
and verily he hath his reward in the plaudits of the people ; while other 



Books on the War with Spain 381 

sailors, whose opportunity came not quite so soon, have but a scant meed 
of praise. War honors are always such — naturally and properly. 

In a simple but telling manner the colonel describes how Wood and 
he, by dint of push, got equipments where others failed ; how out of 
a plethora of recruits only those who could ride and shoot were chosen ; 
how in camp at San Antonio the cowboy, the mining prospector and the 
hunter vied with the swell or the student as to who could best learn his 
duty ; how a kindly but serious discipline was accepted by all alike ; how 
every man strove to fit himself to do and dare when the hour of battle 
should come ; how the troops were sent hap-hazard to Tampa ; and how 
it was only by stealing a march on the other regiments that the Rough 
Riders actually got on a transport for Cuba, and finally landed in the 
" scramble " at Daiquiri. 

Altogether it was a strange organization. An abnormally quiet and 
gentle man was dubbed Hell Roarer ; a fastidious club man, Tough Ike ; 
his rough-and-tumble cowpuncher bunkie, the Dude ; a fighting Israel- 
ite, Pork Chop ; everyone of note had his antithetical cognomen. That 
all worked kindly together was due to Wood, Roosevelt and those whom 
they selected as officers, men who " not only did their duty, but were al- 
ways on the watch to find out some new duty. ' ' As Roosevelt says : 
" in less than sixty days the regiment had been organized, armed, equip- 
ped, drilled, mounted, dismounted, kept for a fortnight on transports, 
and put through two victorious aggressive fights in a very difficult coun- 
try, the loss in killed and wounded amounting to a quarter of those en- 
gaged. ' ' Truly a noteworthy record for the early days of a volunteer 
organization, and in every rank a credit to American character ! 

This volume is just what its title indicates — " The Rough Riders." 
"It is astonishing what a limited area of vision and expression one has in the 
hurly-burly of battle, ' ' says the colonel, and though he describes nothing 
more than what he saw, his story of the " squad-leaders' fights" of his regi- 
ment gives one the realistic side which no history affords. When rations 
are wanting, or bad, the colonel tells us the fact, but goes not out of his 
way to denounce Alger ; when the officers have to attack without orders, 
we learn how they did it, but without a covert dig at Shafter. Books 
like this and Bigelow's are refreshing reading after the epidemic of press 
criticism. We learn much truth from the books ; much error from the 
news columns. 

The anecdotes about the men and the regimental mascots equal in 
interest the narrative of the fights by the regiment at whose head Colonel 
Roosevelt rode up San Juan Hill to victory — and Albany. The Round 
Robin incident is treated without the heat of the moment. On the 
whole, between the lines, there is wisdom for the legislator who should 
prepare the nation for our next war. While the proposition with which 
the volume sets out, that the Rough Riders were a wonderful volunteer 
organization, is demonstrated, the book also helps to prove that there 
was no more than the usual suffering in Cuba or at Montauk. Colonel 



382 Reviews of Books 

Roosevelt came home " disgracefully well," though he was thrice grazed 
by missiles. 

The paper of the book is heavy and the type large. Abundant pho- 
totypes put one in close touch with the men and officers. The get-up of 
the volume leaves nothing to be desired. 

As with any positive man, one may easily find himself disagreeing 
with Colonel Roosevelt, but it would be hard to resist the frank, infec- 
tious and sportsmanlike way of putting things from the beginning to the 
end of this book. The last words furnish its motif : " Is there any won- 
der that I love my regiment ?" 

Theodore Ayrault Dodge. 



Studies in the Constitutional History of Tennessee. By Joshua W. 
Caldwell. (Cincinnati : The Robert Clarke Company. 1 899. 
Pp. xiv, 183.) 

The constitutional history of Tennessee is in some respects unique. 
Few, if any, of our states have had in their early history so many vicissi- 
tudes of government. Within the quarter of a century from the coming 
of the first settlers to the admission of the state into the Union there ex- 
isted as many as six different governments; and four of them — "The 
Watauga Association," "Cumberland," "Franklin" and the so-called 
"French Broad Association" — were wholly independent of external 
authority. More striking still is the character of some of these primitive 
constitutions, based upon immediate needs, and struck off boldly without 
precedent. It is the story of this constitution-making and self-govern- 
ment that Mr. Caldwell, in the earlier chapters of his book, relates. He 
does not give the history for the first time, but he is the first to single 
out matters constitutional. He does not aim to be exhaustive, nor does 
he pretend to a minute investigation of the sources, but gives us a series 
of studies of the more important features of his subject — a running com- 
mentary (shall we say ?) on the texts of the authorities. The analysis is 
not at all points rigid, but both the analysis and the interpretation are 
mainly original ; and the author makes clear at every step what ideas he 
appropriates and what are his own. The work is conceived in a spirit of 
fairness and executed with candor. There is a breadth of view in the 
treatment which, upon the whole, saves from mistakes of proportion. 
Here is no glorification of the pioneers, but a conscientious and judicious 
effort to find the truth and to express it. 

After discussing the " Franklin " movement the author expresses very 
decidedly his opinion that among the people of the South-West the idea 
of "separatism," at least in the form of an alliance with Spain, never 
had any hold. His conviction is based, apparently, upon a knowledge 
of the people. There is really little evidence on the one side or the other, 
but the weight of what there is seems to be on the side of this conclusion. 

The constitutions of the state — there have been three, with amend- 
ments — are taken up in succession, their histories given, their provisions